Allen Craig Rumors

Cardinals Extend Allen Craig

12:04pm: Craig will earn $1.75MM in 2013, $2.75MM in 2014, $5.5MM in 2015, $9MM in 2016 and $11MM in 2017, according to Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch. The 2018 option is valued at $13MM with a $1MM buyout.

10:52am: Craig obtains a $31MM guarantee, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter).

9:41am: The Cardinals announced that they agreed to a five-year extension with first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig (Twitter link). The deal runs through the 2017 season and includes a club option for 2018. ACES represents Craig.

Allen Craig - Cardinals (PW)

Craig, 28, is now entering his final season as a pre-arbitration eligible player. The contract covers his final pre-arb year, his three arbitration seasons, and at least one free agent year. The club option gives the Cardinals the chance to retain Craig for a second free agent year.

Craig got plenty of playing time as a first baseman and corner outfielder in 2012, and he responded with a tremendous season that earned him some recognition on NL MVP ballots. In 514 plate appearances, the right-handed hitter posted a .307/.354/.522 batting line with 22 home runs. Craig also impressed in 2011, when he posted a .917 OPS in 219 plate appearances.

While terms of the deal aren't known, it won't be surprising if it's worth $30MM or so. Many others have signed long-term deals covering the same seasons as Craig's deal, as MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows. When Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, Cameron Maybin and Curtis Granderson signed long-term deals, this five-year period was valued in the $25-36MM range (some of those players signed six-year deals).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mariners Seek Controllable Hitters

2:35pm: The Mariners are trying hard to obtain Brandon Belt, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs reports (on Twitter).

1:32pm: Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik is looking to acquire hitters who could contribute for the next two or three seasons, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports. The Mariners aim to improve an offense that currently ranks last in the American League with just 3.9 runs per game. 

The Mariners are more focused on players such as Josh Willingham and Allen Craig than players like Shin-Soo Choo and Hunter Pence. Choo and Pence are eligible for free agency after the 2013 season, while Willingham is under contract through 2014 and Craig won't even be arbitration eligible before the 2013-14 offseason.

Rosenthal On Twins, Cardinals, Sizemore

With opening weekend in full swing, Ken Rosenthal has his first Full Count video of the season up over at FOX Sports. Let's check out the highlights….

  • The Twins' outfield is worth keeping an eye on, since Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel are facing free agency after 2011 and many of the team's top prospects are outfielders. Rosenthal says it's "even possible" that the Twins could trade Denard Span, who is signed through 2014.
  • While Matt Holliday recovers from his appendectomy, the Cardinals are comfortable platooning Allen Craig and Jon Jay. Craig is "highly sought after" in trade talks, particularly by American League teams, according to Rosenthal. However, the Cards aren't inclined to move him.
  • Even if Grady Sizemore returns to form in the coming months, he's not likely to be dealt at the trade deadline. His 2012 club option becomes a player option if he's traded, so if they wanted to explore a deal, the Indians would probably do so next winter, after picking up the option.